Category Archives: Staff news

Construction begins on new Muscle Shoals VRS office

Dignitaries pose with hard hats and shovels following the groundbreaking.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held May 8 for a new office space for Muscle Shoals VRS. The 20,000-square-foot facility is being built by Easter Seals Northwest Alabama. VRS will occupy approximately half of the new building, which will feature a multi-purpose room, dedicated testing space, and updated technology. Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2020.  

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Focus groups help ADRS Lakeshore plan for the future

Staff from the ADRS Lakeshore office recently spent a week traveling the state to conduct a series of focus groups. The groups, made up of Vocational Rehabilitation Service staff, provided input that will be used in a restructuring effort to address the growing demand for the office’s programs. Program Evaluation and Development Specialist Samantha Wadsworth said Lakeshore has grown beyond

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ADRS Lakeshore staff provide training to Vestavia Hills first responders

Brandon Adamson, a certified driving instructor with ADRS Lakeshore, goes over the adaptive devices available to drivers with disabilities

A successful 2018 training session for the Vestavia Hills Police Department through the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services continued Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, with a new topic concerning suicide prevention and mental health. Last year, ADRS Rehabilitation Specialist Samantha Wadsworth worked with officers and first responders at the VHPD to help them identify and understand typical behaviors

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New training offers VR staff insight into military culture

\Sawyer discusses guard life

More than 30 Vocational Rehabilitation Service direct-service staff recently attended a training on military culture and best practices for serving Alabama National Guard members through the ADRS RAVE (retaining a valued employee) Program. The new training, which focused on the Army and National Guard, was developed by Business Relations Specialist Anna Taylor and Staff Training and Development staffer Nancy Adams.

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Early intervention ‘boot camp’ teaches routines-based interviewing techniques

Dr. Robin McWilliam discusses interview techniques during the January session

This week, more than 25 representatives from early intervention (EI) programs around the state are gathering in Tuscaloosa for a “boot camp” on routines-based interviewing (RBI). The multi-day workshop – the first of three for 2019 – is being led by Robin McWilliam, a professor at the University of Alabama who developed the Routines-Based Model for serving young children with

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ADRS launches 2018 United Way campaign with special event

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services and United Way combined campaign kicked off Friday, Sept. 14, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. with a few new incentives. The special event, held in the State Office, featured food, fun, fellowship, and door prizes, along with presenters to explain how contributions to the United Way make a difference in the community. ADRS staffer

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Rehab engineering workshop under construction in Anniston

Construction is currently under way on a new rehabilitation engineering work and storage space for the Anniston area. The 864-square-foot workshop, which is being built behind the ADRS facility on Coleman Road in Anniston, will include a 24′ x 24′ workshop with work benches and a wash-out sink as well as a storage loft. The outside will feature water access

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Guide Dogs for the Blind staff offer glimpse of the ‘guide dog lifestyle’ (photo gallery)

Mark Gillard, certified O&M specialist with Guide Dogs for the Blind, explains the back-chaining and patterning methods to class participants

Staff from Guide Dogs for the Blind were in Alabama recently for a training and workshop for ADRS staff and consumers. The group’s stay began with a two-day training session for orientation and mobility specialists from ADRS and other entities, including the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, E.H. Gentry, and Birmingham-area school systems. Class topics included assessing a client’s

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33rd annual early intervention preschool conference a success

More than 500 professionals and parents attended the 33rd annual statewide Early Intervention and Preschool Conference in Huntsville Oct. 23-25. The 2 1/2 day conference offered more than 40 sessions, recommending practices for various early intervention and preschool services from birth to 5 years of age. Penny Foster, the parent of a child with Down syndrome who received services through

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Business Relations Administrator Peggy Anderson’s retirement reception (photo gallery + video)

Peggy Anderson is presented the VIP award from Lamona Lucas

Members of the Rehab Family gathered Sept. 29 to honor Business Relations Administrator Peggy Anderson for her more than 35 years of loyal service to Alabamians with disabilities. Friends, family, community partners, and colleagues as well as founding ADRS Commissioner Lamona Lucas gathered to celebrate Anderson’s many contributions as a passionate advocate for the creation of the department and a

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Leslie Dawson readies for Business Relations administrator role

With the Oct. 1 retirement of Statewide Business Relations Administrator Peggy Anderson, Leslie Dawson is preparing to fill some very big shoes. In August, ADRS Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw named Dawson to succeed Anderson as the department’s business relations administrator and a member of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). “I’m honored and humbled,” Dawson said about her new role. “Peggy

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Board holds quarterly meeting at ADRS Lakeshore (photo gallery + video)

Board members Eddie Williams and Jimmie Varnado speak with members of the Adaptive Driving Program team following the board meeting

The Alabama Board of Rehabilitation Services held its recent quarterly meeting at the ADRS Lakeshore office. Paige Hebson, field supervisor at ADRS Lakeshore, spoke to the group about the services provided through her office. Also addressing the group was Beth Curry, who works at the nearby Lakeshore Foundation. Following the meeting, the board as well as members of the ADRS

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ADRS, Easter Seals open new Tuscaloosa facility (photo gallery + video)

Easter Seals West Alabama (ESWA) and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) recently hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration for their new state-of-the-art facility. The new building – located at 1400 James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway Drive East – features 56,000 square feet of office space and houses all four major ADRS programs – Alabama’s Early Intervention System, Children’s Rehabilitation Service,

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Floyd is ADRS’s new software development manager

ADRS Computer Services recently promoted a familiar face to be the department’s new software development manager. Beverly Floyd assumed her post, previously held by Clay Weaver, on March 16. “Right now, I’m really serving dual roles,” Floyd said, “Not only am I taking over for Clay, I’m also still wearing my project management hat. I’m busy, but it’s also exciting. I’ll be working

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ADRS staff re-locating to newly completed facility (photo gallery)

Earlier this week, the Vocational Rehabilitation Service (VRS) and State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL) offices in Tuscaloosa began moving to their new location at 1400 James I. Harrison Jr. Parkway E. When the move is complete, the 56,000-square-foot, three-story complex – owned and built by Easter Seals West Alabama – will house some 60 ADRS staff. The Tuscaloosa offices

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Business relations consultants gather for quarterly meeting (photo gallery)

Staff from the ADRS Business Relations Program held their quarterly meeting at Cheaha State Park earlier this week. The three-day retreat included sessions on important employment issues as well as updates on the RAVE program, business relations consultant specialty areas, and the U.S. Business Leadership Network.

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Muscle Shoals, Selma celebrate opening of new facilities (photo gallery)

  Last week, new ADRS facilities in Muscle Shoals and Selma opened their doors to the members of the community. At just over 5,000 square feet, the new home for CRS in the Shoals area offers more clinic space for families at one of the fastest-growing locations in the state. The 12,644-square-foot facility in downtown Selma – which houses the

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SAIL retreat focuses on team building (photo gallery)

The State of Alabama Independent Living (SAIL) program staff retreat kicked off yesterday at the Orange Beach Hilton Garden Inn. The three-day training is focusing on team building and pertinent topics of interest like the Personal Choices program. Staff were also asked to make a full accessibility assessment of a restaurant of their choosing to report to the group on Day 2.

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EI conference draws 500 to Montgomery (photo gallery)

Rachel Harrison interviews her son Wren about his little sister Anna Pruitt (nicknamed 'AP' by the family) as dad Brian listens in

Some 500 parents and early intervention and preschool professionals are gathering in Montgomery this week for the Early Intervention and Preschool Conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Once Upon a Time … Everyone Has a Story.” The opening session for the two-and-a-half-day conference featured the Harrison family of Tuscaloosa, who shared their personal story about Anna Pruitt, their youngest

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Pre-ETS training updates transition counselors

With final regulations for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) released, transition counselors recnetly received the latest information on Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) through a series of trainings offered at five different locations throughout the state, said Rehabilitation Specialist III Karen Jenkins. “We visited our offices and informed staff about the the five required activities for PETS: job exploration

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